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Author Topic: Childhood sexual abuse and BPD  (Read 1624 times)
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Gender: Male
Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 95

« on: November 27, 2016, 10:58:54 AM »

I was listening to a podcast recently that was reading letters from many people who had suffered sexual abuse as children, and the letters spoke of the difficulties they experienced as adults:

Hyper sexual behaviour combined with repulsion towards sex
Self harm
Serious Depression
Suicidal ideation
Problems with addiction
Difficulty connecting with people
A desire to go back to their childhood and relive in that moment to take their power back and therefore being stuck in the past.
and they spoke of the gaslighting inflicted by their abusers, while at the same time expressing love for their abusers (parents) and saying that they would never want to do anything to harm their family.

This really made me think about my BPDex. Here are some symptoms that to me were telltale signs that he had been abused sexually as a child:

He told me he adopted sexualized behaviour at 7 years old for the enjoyment of the adults around him - they would laugh at his antics. He said it as though this was a normal thing.
He told me he developed his behavioural problems around that age
The first time we had sex, he lay there motionless, as though he had dissociated. I was shocked and he proceeded to tell me shocking things - although he has never mentioned any sexual abuse. Other times though this did not happen.
He withdraws when he is in relationships, and sometimes needs to lock himself away for three to four days.
Other times he adopts hypersexual behaviour - orgies, promiscuity, etc.
He has struggled with serious addiction problems, and can have really dark thoughts.
He self harms.
He often uses the words "It's all in your head" to dismiss your concerns about things.
He idealizes his family.
He holds a great deal of anger.
He has nightmares all the time of harm coming to a parent and spends nights tossing and turning in torment.
Perpetual self-blame and self hate.

He has told me many things about himself, but never anything about sexual abuse. But to me all the evidence points towards it. Am I thinking too much about this? I wish I could help him, but I'm not sure he even admits it to himself that anything inappropriate happened, or remembers. While not everyone with BPD seems to have suffered sexual abuse it seems to be a very common thread with this illness. The words that he uses "it's all in your head" are chilling now. For a while I thought of them as abusive and dismissive of my experience but I now think of it as possibly words used by his own abuser. It breaks my heart. Am I reading too much into this? I would be interested in hearing about this from others. While it's increasingly acceptable and encouraged for women to speak about sexual abuse, I can't really imagine how difficult it is for a man terrified of rejection, with identity issues to do so, especially one who has internalized the phrase "It's all in your head"...


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Person in your life: Family other
Posts: 5

« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2017, 04:48:43 PM »

My Niece has BPD and I know she was molested as a child and suffered severe verbal criticism from her mother.
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Gender: Female
Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 66

« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2017, 05:56:51 PM »

All of his symptoms may, or may not, be linked to sexual abuse as a child.

My ex BPD boyfriend was abused as a child, and I knew this early on. As much as we want to be there for them, as much as we want to help - there is not always a way we can.

I am not sure what I want to say with this, just that you are not alone. And whether he was a victim of child abuse or not, it is still not certain he will ever tell. Or if he does, that it will help.

I've heard different stories about what really happened and when I try to be there for him, he doesn't let me. And he doesn't trust doctors or psychiatrists anymore.

Take care of yourself, too. None of this is this fault. Be there for him if he wants to talk, but it's hard to think we can save someone from their wounds. Sometimes it just drags us all down, be gentle to yourself and to him.
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Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 134

« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2017, 11:05:05 PM »

Hotncold, I really appreciate your post.  it got me thinking, reminded me a lot of what I went thru.

my BPD ex swore he was never abused as a child sexually, but i think its because both he and I had a narrow view of what sex abuse is.  We tend to consider it when a child is abused by an older person only.

I'd like to share a bit: first off, I'm a gay male, so my ex was also a guy.  I met him when he was younger, almost 19.  he shared early on that he had a pretty extensive past.  However it took about a year of us together for him to elaborate. Sex in the gay world is easy to find, and multiple partners are common.  We have apps that make it easy to find a NSA partner in under 10 minutes of conversation.  When my ex was 15, he got very very caught up in this.  It emerged that he had between 150-200 anonymous partners by 16 or 17.  he often preferred objectively unattractive older men.  Because they would lavish him with attention, give him what he wanted (usually more attention, alcohol, marijuana, teenage boy fixation type stuff). Also, he was very good looking- so there was a dynamic where these older men probably saw this hot young guy, felt it was "jackpot" and chased after him for weeks for more encounters.  He admits he would be a tease, play hard to get, break a lot of hearts.  But it gave him intense validation, and he openly refers to developing an addiction to it all (yea, no kidding- 200!).

lets rewind a little though.  Ex also said he was sexual at a young age.  most often with his straight male friends.  mentioned a few sleepovers that included experimentation.  this is a normal thing, however... many boys had these "ill show you mine if you..." experiences.  I surely did and am not scarred. He commented that he wasn't very popular, had very few friends close or otherwise.  But he discovered how the equipment works down there by 8 or 9.  He went to a small catholic school where they had an after-school program for children of working parents, that would keep them at school until 5pm when his working, single mother could get him.  

During his time at the after school program, mostly age 11-13, he hung out with two other boys who, apparently, also knew how their equipment worked. My ex knew he was gay, at a young age.  I don't know how it came to be exactly, but during the after school sessions him and these other two boys would engage in sexual activities.  However, they were very one sided.  These boys were not gay, and were not interested in reciprocal sexual activity.  Yet, they seemed to have no problem "using" my ex for sexual gratification.  My ex, shy, lonely and wanting friends/validation, would perform oral sex on these two boys.  It became an almost daily thing (apparently the afterschool program had little supervision). It was clear my ex began to confuse sexual acts and offering them with real, healthy validation. For two years, he and these boys would engage, well- "use" my ex. this grew through the 8th grade, where these boys would include him in slumber parties and have him perform sexually on multiple peers.  It was, again, one sided. It wasn't the type of reciprocal experimentation that young boys are known to engage in. When my ex talked of these moments, it was with disdain, hatred, regret.  He would say these boys were just using him.  His sex acts did not earn their friendship... he was always the one of the group who was the butt of jokes, and he was only really invited to anything when there was a potential he could perform oral sex.

Looking back, this, indeed is a form of sex abuse.  it was the abuse of his developing sexuality at the hands of, likely unknowing but culpable, peers.

It wasn't until I read your thread that i really connected how this made sense when my ex began to willfuly engage in sex at 15.  He chose the partners most likely to chase, validate, long for him not equally, but more than him. He was getting "payback" from the universe by being with these men and playing them during the ensuing chase.  Now, its not that he wasnt being "used" anymore.  He openly recalled how he told these older, unattractive men he wanted them to "use" him. By less than halfway through his "willing" sex phase he was also quite good at performing a large number of sex acts. However, and importantly, the end result of this "using" was radically different than the past he was replaying. Instead of nothing, he was now being worshiped and idealized. He "used" these experiences to repurpose and take power over the abuse he experienced from his peers. Also, he had a pretty poor relationship with his father, who lived a state away and he saw only for a few weeks each summer.  Daddy issues may explain the focus on older (and i mean 35-55, MUCH older for a 15yo) men.

Just typing this feels like an epiphany! yikes!

I will say that during our relationship, his go-to reaction to any conflict or boundary enforcement was to... cheat on me with these same types of men. he would openly admit "the grosser, the better."  I caught him looking into orgies and the such, but he never went to any by his own admittance (and he was always painfully honest with me, I can hack and recover deleted texts for years back, nothing can hide from me).  During our relationship, i was in my later 20s, so wasn't part of this "type." I have modeled professionally and have an 8 pack, have been told by just about everyone I'm very, very good looking. So it truly stung when I hacked his phone and saw exactly who he was offering himself up to. It just hurt. I was a very giving partner, spent untold (probably) hundreds of thousands catering to his desires. To be discarded in moments of weakness to scummy, pretty darn gross men... it still burns me inside and out.

Hes in therapy now... but not for BPD but his hypersexuality.  Its gotten him a few STDs (and me too, all curable thank god) and a lot of misery.

I just think its so interesting that on reflection, he WAS a victim of sex abuse.  but a much less obvious form.

thanks so much for your post!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 11:19:09 PM by cbm419 » Logged
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